Saturday, March 28, 2009

Comments to the Article "Rwanda: No Conspiracy, No Genocide Planning ... No Genocide?"

peter erlinder
December 30th, 2008 7:48 pm

My dear friend...
and others who have attacked me personally rather than examining the ICTR evidence that goes contrary to the accepted story re: Rwanda.

What cannot be denied is that Kagame-led forces were the aggressors 1900-94 and that Kagame assassinated Habyarimana, which touched off the last 100 days of the Rwanda War. It also cannot be denied that, since at least May 17,1994 UN and USG documents show that massive crimes were committed by the RPF before, during and after the April-July period...commonly called the "Rwanda genocide" It also cannot be denied that the Kagame RPF military has invaded and occupied the Congo from 1996 to the present, resulting in more than 6 million deaths.

IF my position is "genocide denial" it means that the RPF aggressors and criminals became the "good guys" for 90 days. But indictments by judges in Spain and France have come to different conclusions. The spanish judge indicts Kagame for assassination of Habyarimana and some 300,000 civilian deaths in 1994, and thousands in Kibeho refugee camp in 1995.

Former ICTR prosecutors, not me, have explained the US/UK/UN cover-up of RPF crimes in 1994, 1997 and 2003-present. See testimony/affidavit of ICTR prosecutor Michael Hourigan and books by Carl Del Ponte and Florence Hartman published in 2007-08.

My reference to the eastern front was not to dispute that there were genocidal crimes that took place during the german/soviet fight to the death...only that what is called the "holocaust" was highly planned conscious policies of the Nazi state, carried out in a organized manner. The events you describe might well be considered part of the same.

The point is that the evidence of the ICTR showed nothing of the sort. The Military-1 trial was the first in which formerly suppressed documentary evidence was made available to the court....thus, the no conspiracy, no planning ruling. However, individual defendants were found guilty under command responsibility for genocidal crimes committed by troops under their command.

And...for multiple crimes, committed by multiple actors to be considered "a" genocide, rather than genocidal acts within a larger context which is NOT "a genocide" (i.e. the WWII eastern front).

I understand that this new information is upsetting...but it does not change the fact that the story of the Rwanda War...and crimes committed have been told by the victors...not unlike the Japanese being held responsible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I hope that all interested in the evidence will examine the evidence in the Military-1 trial and many of the documents which are available on my website: We can continue this dialogue via email if you like:

best regards,


December 31st, 2008 6:35 pm

Mr. Erlinder, please look again at the title of your article. It clearly implies that if no conspiracy or planning can be proved, then "no genocide" occurred in Rwanda. That is blatantly untrue under the UN Genocide Convention, as I pointed out.

There is no question that Kagame's RPF forces committed major crimes during the later stages of the genocide, and beyond (in Zaire/Congo). In fact, I have argued that these can themselves be considered genocidal atrocities. At least between April and July 1994, however, they were dwarfed by the Hutu-extremist campaign to exterminate every last woman, man, and child of Tutsi ethnicity who could be hunted down by Rwandan soldiers, militias, and death squads, assisted by tens of thousands of ordinary Hutu civilians.

You write: "What cannot be denied is that ... Kagame assassinated Habyarimana, which touched off the last 100 days of the Rwanda War." This is ridiculous; the assertion that the RPF killed Habyarimana is nothing more than a hypothesis -- a tenable one, but one that has never been proved, and that stands beside equally tenable hypotheses -- e.g., that Hutu extremists downed the plane in order to remove an obstacle to their desired "final solution of the Tutsi problem." And note the implicit logic here: that if the leader of a country is killed by outside invaders, then it is understandable (reasonable? acceptable?) for the authorities to respond by seeking to slaughter every last innocent civilian within the country, down to the youngest child, who happens to share the same ethnicity as the majority of the invaders. Sorry, but that is a moral abomination.

I also remain deeply disturbed by your depiction of World War II on the Eastern Front as consisting of "multiple crimes, committed by multiple actors ... rather than genocidal acts within a larger context which is NOT 'a genocide'." This obfuscates the fact that it was the Nazis who invaded the Soviet Union with a carefully-prepared and highly-detailed plan to subjugate the population, including via the pre-planned extermination (through execution, starvation, and overwork) of tens of millions of Soviet civilians. The vast majority of genocide scholars would consider this Nazi campaign to constitute a straightforward policy of genocide in the form of aggressive war -- analogous to the Spanish destruction of native populations across large swaths of the Americas during the 15th and 16th centuries. The millions of civilian deaths on the Eastern Front, Jewish and otherwise, were part and parcel of this genocidal enterprise. Depicting those victims as simply "caught up in war-time violence," or as part of a "struggle to the death" between two (apparently equally blameworthy) nations, is precisely the line of argument advanced time and again by Holocaust deniers and Nazi apologists.

peter erlinder
January 1st, 2009 4:34 pm

thanks for your response

...but you are completely informed about the assassination of Habyarimana. Affidavits from former ICTR investigators, prosecutors make clear that Kagame's culpability was known and suppressed in 1997. Please check the trial record.
In addition there was multiple witness testimony from former RPA officers who were involved in the particulars...the assassination was part of a long-standing plan to seize power, rather than share it under the Arusha Accords...
With respect to your assessment of the Genocide convention, it is partially correct. It is possible for acts to be committed with the requisite specific intent (dolis specialis in civil law) but that specific intent cannot be transferred one to another...without there being a plan, or structure....however, to link an otherwise disconnected series of events into a single offense..."a genocide" actually does require the kind of planning and structural execution seen in the Nazi extermination program, and is implicit in the genocide convention language, when it is translated into the elements of a crime under either civil or common-law systems...which the convention treaty, itself, is not.

My point about the eastern front continues to be that when "the genocide" is referred to in common conversation...the images it invokes are NOT those on the eastern front...altho some of the violence may have had genocidal intent...that cannot characterize all the crimes committed by the German military, or its supporters as such...and certainly not those committed by those other than Nazi's...and there were many, as you know. And, some of those might also have been committed with genocidal intent.

A more claim to "genocide"...which certainly is as effective as "terrorist" in labeling an offense as not worthy of careful thought, or the application of legal norms and evidentiary proof....the ruling at the ICTR was precisely on that legal point...Your insistence of demonizing ALL acts committed by the group you why we have moved beyond..."an eye for an eye"...and require evidence, precise definition of crime, and a presumption of innocence for the accused.

But, of course, this is only important if one is interested in "law" rather than their own view of "justice"...and I don't trust mine, an more than I trust yours...Of course we can differ on this...
But on the evidence of what actually DID happen in Rwanda...the exposure of a 14 year cover-up of RPF crimes by the US/UK is in full swing at the ICTR...and the facts of what happened in Rwanda are already in the public record for those who are interested.

I appreciate your thoughtful comments, but like most in the US, you have been misinformed about what occurred in Rwanda...and who was responsible...and who were the victims, under what circumstances. But, this will change as the research and original documents become more familiar to interested researchers...

best regards,


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